Summary

Recommended for investors, including beginners, who focus on the Canadian and US markets

Qtrade was founded in 2000 and it is a Canadian stockbroker. It's regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Qtrade is considered safe because it has a long track record, offers high-level investor protection and is regulated by a top-tier regulator.

Overall Rating
4.3
Fees
3.6
Account opening
4.4
Deposit and withdrawal
3.0
Trading platform
3.0
Markets and products
2.3
Research
2.8
Customer service
3.1
Education
4.0

Qtrade pros and cons

Qtrade's strengths are highlighted by their low trading fees. Other strengths are its easy account opening and above-average education tools.

On the other hand, Qtrade's products cover only the Canadian and US markets. Both their mobile and web applications are in need of a fresh look and feel. The lack of credit/debit card or electronic wallet integration limits deposit and withdrawal options.

Pros Cons
Great customer service Only Canadian and US markets covered
Easy account opening Mobile and web platform are outdated
Solid educational tools Credit/debit cards and electronic wallets are not provided
Qtrade main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulation Canada
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1-3 days
💳 Deposit with credit/debit card Not available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 2
🎮 Demo account provided Yes
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options
Oskar Golebiowski

Oskar Golebiowski

Canadian broker expert

Author of this review

Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

Qtrade review
Fees

3.6
Qtrade offers low fees for stocks, ETF, bond, and mutual fund. There is no inactivity fee as well. The downside is that they charge a maintenance fee of CAD $25 per quarter and the fees for options are quite high.
Pros Cons
Low non-trading fees High options fees
Low stock and ETF fees CAD 25 per quarter account fee
~100 free ETFs
No mutual fund fees
Qtrade fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock Low CAD 8.75 per trade and CAD 6.95 if you trade 150+ or have at least CAD 500k account balance
EURUSD - Not available
Mutual fund Low CAD 0 per trade
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

We ranked Qtrade's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, and non-trading fees.

Below you will find the most relevant fees of Qtrade for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing commissions are the most important fees.

We also compared Qtrade's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Questrade and RBC Direct Investing. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Qtrade alternatives.

To have a clear overview of Qtrade, let's start with the trading fees.

Qtrade trading fees

Qtrade offers low stock, ETF, bond and mutual fund fees. The fees for options are high. You get a discount for stock and options fees if you trade more and/or have a higher account balance.

The fee structure is easy to understand and transparent.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Qtrade has generally low stock and ETF commission.

Stock and ETF commission of a $2,000 trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US stock $6.6 $5.0 $7.5

If you prefer stock trading on margin or short sale, you should check Qtrade's financing rates.

What is a financing rate? Financing rates or margin rate is charged when you trade short sale or on margin. Trading on margin basically means that you borrow money from your broker to trade. For borrowed this money you have to pay interest. This is the financing rate. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

Qtrade financing rates are average. The financing rates or also known as margin rates vary based on the base currency of your margin account.

Qtrade annual financing rates for stocks, futures, and options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USD margin rate 5.5% 8.5% 5.5%

The financing rate above is also applied for Options.

Qtrade charges a base rate and markup for trading on margin. At the time of the review, the base rate was 3.45% for loans in CAD and 4.25% for loans in USD. The markup depends on the debit balance, currency of the debit balance, trade volume, and your account balance.

Qtrade markup for margin trading
  Debit balance in CAD Debit balance in USD
Trading less than 150 per quarter and/or have less than CAD 500k debit balance
Debit balance less than CAD 100k Base rate + 1.55% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance more than CAD 100k Base rate + 1.50% Base rate + 1.20%
Trading more than 150 per quarter and/or have more than CAD 500k debit balance
Debit balance less than CAD 10k Base rate + 1.30% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance between CAD 10k and CAD 100k Base rate + 1.05% Base rate + 1.00%
Debit balance between more than CAD 100k Base rate + 0.30% Base rate + 0.50%

Fund fees

Qtrade's mutual fund transactions have no commission fees. It's the same as RBC Direct Investing's fees and lower than Questrade's fees.

Commission for a $2,000 fund purchase
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Mutual fund $0.0 $10.0 $0.0

Bond fees

Qtrade has generally low bond fees. Questrade offers free bonds, while the bond fees at RBC Direct Investing are not transparent.

Commission of a $10,000 government bond trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US Treasury bond $18.7 $0.0 $18.8

Qtrade offers primarily Canada-based government, provincial, municipal, and corporate bonds. It charges CAD 1 per CAD 1,000 of face value with a minimum of CAD 24.99 and a maximum of CAD 250.

Options fees

Qtrade options fees are generally high. It's roughly the same as RBC Direct Investing's commissions.

Stock index options commission of 10 contracts
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US stock index options $15.9 $20.0 $16.8

They charge a flat fee of CAD 8.75 plus a variable fee of CAD 1.25 per contract. The flat fee is reduced to CAD 6.95 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter and/or have at least CAD 500,000 account balance.

Non-trading fees

Qtrade has low to average non-trading fees. It charges no inactivity fee and there is no withdrawal fee. Although they charge a CAD 25 per quarter fee unless you satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • have more than CAD 25,000 account balance
  • you made two stock or options trades in the last quarter
  • you made eight stock or options trades in the last twelve months
  • you have automatic deposits activated monthly of at least CAD $ 100.
  • your age is between 18 and 30 years and you add at least CAD 50 to your account each month
Qtrade non-trading fees
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Account fee Yes No Yes
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

There are many further fees you might be interested, just to mention a few:

  • CAD 100 is charged if you close your account within the first year after your account is opened
  • Transferring out assets costs CAD 150
  • If you set USD as the base currency for registered accounts (LIF, RIF), there is a USD 15 per quarter fee

Qtrade review
Account opening

4.4
Qtrade has an easy and fully digital account opening process. There is no minimum deposit and you can choose from many account types. However, the account opening and verification takes a bit longer, 2-3 business days.
Pros Cons
Fully digital 2-3 business days account opening
No minimum deposit Only available to clients with valid Canadian SIN
Many account types

Can you open an account?

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What is the minimum deposit at Qtrade?

There is no minimum deposit for Qtrade.

Account types

You can choose different account types based on ownership:

  • Individual account: account is owned by an individual
  • Joint account: account is owned by two or more individuals
  • Non-personal accounts (corporate, organization, trust): account is owned by a legal entity

Within the individual account, Qtrade offers more account types such as:

Qtrade individual account types
Account type Description
Cash account Trading account that doesn't offer margin* and options trading
Margin account Trading account that offers margin* and options trading
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Tax-free account that offers easy access to money
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Tax-free account for retirement and as a result, not offering easy passage to money
Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Tax-free account for clients who must close their RRSP because of turning 71
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Tax-advantaged account for educational purposes

*When you trade with money borrowed from the broker 

How to open your account

Qtrade's account opening process is fully digital and account opening times range between 2-3 business days. Our account was verified within 3 business days.

  1. Add your email address and set a password
  2. Select your account type and account base currency
  3. Add personal information, like date of birth or residency
  4. Answer a few questions relating to your financial knowledge
  5. Choose your funding options
  6. Sign and submit. Wait for the response by email if you've been approved or whether more information is needed.
Qtrade review - Account opening

Qtrade review
Deposit and withdrawal

3.0
Qtrade offers user-friendly and free deposit and withdrawal. Unfortunately, limited methods of withdrawing and depositing can be a problem for some.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Electronic wallets not available
User-friendly

Account base currencies

Like the competitors, Qtrade offers two base currencies: USD and CAD.

Base currencies at Qtrade vs similar brokers
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Number of base currencies 2 2 2

Questrade offers 2 base currencies and RBC Direct Investing has 2 base currencies.

Why does this matter? For two reasons. First, if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, you are not charged a currency conversion fee. Second, if you trade assets in the same currency as your account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees is opening a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

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Deposit fees and options

Qtrade charges no deposit fees. You will have the following option to deposit funds:

  • Electronic Transfer from a bank account
  • Bill payee through online banking
Qtrade deposit options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No

A bank transfer can take several business days, while payment with a credit/debit card is instant.

You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.

Qtrade review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Qtrade withdrawal fees and options

Qtrade doesn't charge a withdrawal fee. You can use the same withdrawal options as for deposit.

Qtrade withdrawal fees and options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Qtrade? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.

How do you withdraw money from Qtrade? You can withdraw money from Qtrade by following these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Move your cursor over 'My Accounts' to open the drop-down menu
  3. Click on 'Transfer Funds'
  4. Choose your method of transfer
  5. Choose the account to withdraw from, the amount, currency and method
  6. Choose which account to transfer to
  7. Initiate withdrawal

Compare to other brokers

Qtrade review
Web trading platform

3.0
Qtrade brings you a basic and tradition trading platform. Their alert system sending you price alerts and order confirmations are necessities for some while having clear fees and portfolio reports are also very useful. However, they do not offer a two-step login and the design looks and feels outdated.
Pros Cons
Clear fee report No two-step (safer) login
Good search function Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Good variety of order types
Qtrade platforms to choose from
Trading platform Score Available
Web 3.0 stars Yes
Mobile 2.5 stars Yes
Desktop - No

Qtrade offers an in-house developed web trading platform. It is available in both English and French.

Look and feel

The Qtrade web trading platform is OK. It's easy to use, however, the design feels outdated and we found some bugs during testing. For example, the order panel didn't work or we couldn't check the account summary.

There is no option to customize the platform.

Qtrade review - Web trading platform

Login and security

Qtrade provides only a one-step login process. A two-step login would be preferred and more secure but will have to wait for a future update.

When you log in on any device, you will have the traditional security of answering security questions.

Search functions

The search functions are good. A responsive feeling when typing and it gives relevant answers to your query. 

Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

Qtrade offers a great number of order types:

  • Market 
  • Limit 
  • Stop limit 
  • Stop market 
  • Trailing stop market
  • Trailing stop limit

If you are not familiar with the basic order types, read this overview.

There is also one order time limit you can use:

  • Good till time
Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set price and news alerts through the web trading platform.

However, you can set only email notifications, we missed the push notifications on mobile. We didn't like that you have to use the assets' ticker for searching an asset. It would be much easier if you could use the assets' name. 

Portfolio and fee reports

Qtrade offers a clear fee and portfolio report. If you have an account, you can find them if you go to 'MyAccount' > 'Service center' > 'View eDocuments'.

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Qtrade review
Mobile trading platform

2.5
Qtrade's mobile trading platform has almost the same design and functionalities as the web trading platform. The biggest downsides are that there are no price alert function or two-step login and we found some glitches during the testing.
Pros Cons
Good search function No two-step (safer) login
Good variety of order types No price alerts
Order confirmation No Touch/Face ID login

Similarly to the web trading platform, Qtrade has an in-house developed mobile trading platform. It is available both on iOS and Android. We tested it on the iOS version.

Most of the functionalities are the same as the web trading platform. It offers the same order types, has the same search functions, and offers only one-step login.

The design is very basic and has given us a few glitches and crashes when tested. Unlike the web trading platform, you are unable to set alerts.

Qtrade review - Mobile trading platform

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Qtrade review
Desktop trading platform

Qtrade does not offer a desktop trading platform.

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Qtrade review
Markets and products

2.3
Qtrade's product offer covers only the Canadian and US markets. You can trade with basic asset classes like stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc. On the other, forex, futures, CFD, and crypto asset classes are missing.
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No No No

Qtrade has a great mutual fund offer. The stock, ETF, and bond offers are almost the same as its Canadian competitors.

Stock and ETF

Qtrade gives access to North American stock exchanges. That pales in comparison to other brokers in their market but does make them perfect for clients who focus exclusively on the Canadian and US markets.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock markets (#) 5 9 5
ETFs (#) 3,100 3,100 3,100

You can trade on the following stock exchanges: NASDAQ, S&P 500, TSX, TSXV, and Aequitas NEO Exchange.

Fund

Qtrade offers a lot of mutual funds. It's better than at their direct competitors.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Fund providers (#) 140 100 83

Bond

Qtrade offers bonds in various categories, such as municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and provincial bonds.

The number of bonds is average, but it is an ideal selection if you prefer Canadian fixed income securities.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bonds (#) 1,400 1,500 1,000

Options

Qtrade gives access to options markets, however, it's not transparent which ones.

Qtrade review
Research

2.8
Qtrade's research tools are designed for clients preferring fundamental analysis. You can use analyst recommendations, fundamental data, screeners, etc. The charting tool and other analytic tools are very basic though and the design of the research tools is outdated.
Pros Cons
Trading ideas Limited interactive charting
Data on asset fundamentals No/limited set of analytic tools

You can find the research tools on the web trading platform, under the 'Investment Tools' and 'Research' sections. Similarly to the web trading platform, the research tools have an outdated design and are available both in English and French.

Trading ideas

Qtrade provides trading ideas provided by Morningstar, a third-party research tool provider. You can find them in the 'Analyst Recommendations' under the 'Research' section.

You can see whether you should buy, hold, or sell the specific asset. What we missed is the information about the analysts providing these recommendations.

Qtrade review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Qtrade offers fundamental data. From financial statements to performance or price history, you'll find a lot of data.

Qtrade review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

Qtrade has basic charting tools. You can use only a few technical indicators and chart editor tools. If you prefer technical analysis, Qtrade's reserach tools are not suitable for you.

Qtrade review - Research - Charting

Newsfeed

The newsfeed is average. It is easily readable but lacks visual elements, like charts or pictures. It's provided by third-parties, like Barrons.com, InvestorsObserver, etc.

Other research tools you will enjoy

You can use screeners for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. From the price data to basic company information, you can use a wide range of filters.

There is also a value analyzer. Based on the assets' fundamentals, there is a value analysis and rate of return estimation.

A Technical Research tool is also provided. An algorithm recognizes patterns and support/resistance levels using chart data.

Qtrade review - Research - Technical research

Compare research pros and cons

Qtrade review
Customer service

3.1
Qtrade provides excellent telephone and email support. On the negative side, live chat and 24/7 availability are not provided.
Pros Cons
Phone support No live chat
Relevant answers No 24/7 support
Not 24/7

You can contact Qtrade via:

  • telephone
  • email

The telephone support was average speed. We got accurate and helpful answers, but we had to wait more than 5 minutes on average until someone was connected. 

Qtrade's email support works well. Through email, we got relevant answers with their customer support by answering our questions within 1 day. 

We missed the live chat and 24/7 availability. You must wait for business hours in North America to contact support.

Qtrade review - Customer Service

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Qtrade review
Education

4.0
Qtrade offers many traditional education tools such as tutorials, strategic videos, and demo account. A few complaints are that the demo/practice accounts are not advertised unless you are specifically looking for it. They also seem to not update content on a regular basis.
Pros Cons
Demo account Not updated regularly
Trading platform tutorial
Educational videos

At Qtrade you can learn in the following ways:

  • Demo account
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Quality educational articles

By far the most useful educational tool Qtrade offers is their practice accounts. Using practice accounts, clients can simulate investing and trading before even depositing funds. However, these accounts are not openly advertised. 

We also liked that some educational articles or videos are provided by prominent third-parties, like Morningstar or Financial Times, but it would be nice to have some original content too.

Qtrade review - Education

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Qtrade review
Safety

Qtrade is regulated by the top-tier IIROC and offers a high amount of investor protection. Its parent companies, Aviso Wealth and Desjardins Group, have a solid financial background. Nevertheless, Qtrade is not listed on any stock exchange and doesn't provide financial reports annually to transparently display the company's health.
Pros Cons
Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority No negative balance protection
High level of investor protection Does not hold a banking license
Solid parent companies Not listed on stock exchange

Is Qtrade regulated?

Yes, it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Is Qtrade safe?

To be certain, we highly advise to check two facts:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

This is important for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator differ from entity to entity. With Qtrade, this is not an issue because all customers are covered by Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. is a member of CIPF. Therefore, the clients of Qtrade are eligible for the CAD 1 million coverage offered by CIPF

It is also worth noting that Qtrade does not provide negative balance protection.

Background

Qtrade was established in 2000. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

Qtrade is now the subsidiary of Aviso Wealth Inc. which offers many financial services, from online brokerage to insurance.

It's also a great plus that Aviso Wealth Inc. is backed by Desjardins Group which is one of the biggest financial groups in the world.

Having a top-tier regulation, offering high investor protection amount, and having solid parent companies are all great signs for Qtrade's safety.

Find your safe broker

Qtrade review
Bottom line

Qtrade offers competitive stock, ETF, bond, and mutual fund fees. The account opening is easy and fully digital. The education resources are outstanding, they provide a lot of relevant and useful tools.

Qtrade does, however, have its downfalls. The biggest downfall is its product portfolio which covers only the US and Canadian markets. Other things that can be improved are missing credit/debit cards/ electronic wallets for money transfers and some bugs in its user interface.

Since Qtrade provides great trading fees, easy account opening, and top-quality educational tools, feel free to give them a try today.

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